Like we were going to go to New Orleans without going somewhere really special to grab a drink. Shyeah, right.
What we DIDN'T know about the place we'd chosen based on various recommendations (including local dynamo Bill Norris of FINO) is that it's part of the Commander's Palace ultra high fancy pants family of restaurants. Wooo!
So we sauntered in, after a walk down Bourbon Street, and ordered a round of drinks. (Sorry about these pictures. It was super dark in there, and Logan's photoshop magic can only go so far.) Mine, the wintery delight Brandy Milk Punch, was on special for $5 and I LOVED it. It was so spicy and warming, despite the fact that it was served over ice.
But then, everybody enjoyed their drinks, so it wasn't like I was the crazy one. There was a lot to try, from a refreshing Gin Gin Mule for Brandon (ginger beer, lime, gin) to Crystal's tart yet balanced Corpse Reviver #2 (gin, lillet, cointreau,and a drop of herbsaint). Logan and Justin ordered whiskey drinks, so we were just all over the map.
Crazy neat Creole-style food after the jump:
We were also all a bit peckish, so we took a second to look at the menu. And were completely blown away. We were expecting like club sandwiches, but what we found was uber-modern twists on popular local ingredients. So we immediately ordered three appetizers for the table, which all came out at exactly the same time.
The shrimp and tasso "corndogs" with 5 pepper jelly, pickled okra, chicory greens and Crystal butter? Delicious. Fried perfectly. The pickled okra was a nice palate cleanser, and all I wanted was another corndog to sop up the rest of the sauces. I will say that the dish was pretty small for $9, but I'm willing to pay a bit more for something this fun.
The Camellia Red Bean crusted oysters took local gulf oysters and breaded them with a local brand of red kidney bean. They were served with green onion rouille and tasso beurre rouge. How awesomely local is THAT? Let's see, Cajun ham, Cajun oysters, Cajun beans, and the ubiquitous green onion...
And it was cute. Like a bruschetta, or a little open faced po' boy. Once again, these sauces were killer, with real depth.
We also got this crazy-ass foie gras biscuit and gravy, with a duck craklin' biscuit (yes please), a confit of Pekin duck, greens, a little fried quail egg, and a decadent foie gras/parmigiano reggiano gravy. Yeah, this one didn't last long.
Dood. I love when completely unexpected restaurants just happen to us like this. Their menu was interesting from top to bottom, and again, I'd love to go back. Stupid New Orleans. Stupid delicious places to eat, underfoot everywhere. Grrr.
Plus, the bar was stylish and fun to relax in, a good antidote to crazy Bourbon Street and what was happening outside. We were there on the day of the Bayou Classic game between Southern and Grambling State, so outside was a bit of a madhouse.
Inside the hotel, however, all was genteel and lit cozily. There was a lot to look at, too, including this block of ice our 12 year old waiter told us was "super-dense", so it wouldn't melt too quickly in a customer's expensive scotch. Logan got a chunk in his drink and almost broke a tooth.
Eventually, it was time to head out to say hey to some friends and then get dinner at Green Goddess. But we left behind yet another place I'd love to return to. Again, stupid New Orleans. Why is all your stuff so awesome?